As the new Premier League Under-21 season edges ever closer, we take a look at three exciting young players that supporters should look out for this season as the pool of young talent looks to blossom once more.
Dan Crowley – Arsenal
If there is one youngster in the Arsenal Academy that Gunners supporters are keen to keep an eye on for the upcoming season then its 17-year-old ‘wonderkid’ Dan Crowley.
The former Aston Villa trainee, who has been likened to teammate Jack Wilshere, signed a professional contract just one day after his 17th Birthday earlier this month and now looks to be a primed to take pride of place in the Arsenal Under-21 side next season as they look to win promotion to division 1 after a disappointing season saw them put in the lower tier following the change of structure.
Crowley has represented England Under-17s on a number of occasions and has previously been tipped by current England manager Roy Hodgson for a bright future in the game. Arsenal, if they are to win promotion to the top tier, will be hoping Crowley can stay fit and begin to turn his potential into reality as they look to rebuild their reputation.
Adam Armstrong – Newcastle United
The England Under-17 striker is a player with an exceptional goalscoring record at every level he has played at, and has even been tipped for a regular first-team spot at Newcastle as early as this upcoming season.
The Journal reported in June: ‘’Pardew, having been stung by accusations United’s Academy has not produced enough first-team players, is paying particularly close attention to the progress of Armstrong.
‘’He has agonised long and hard about whether to hand the 17-year-old more game time at the end of last season before deciding it would be unfair on the youngster to have him shoulder the scoring burden when the mood on Tyneside curdled.
‘’He wants Armstrong’s progress to continue this season and would like to integrate him into the senior squad.’’
The diminutive striker is one of the most explosive players in the box at youth level and Newcastle will need him to keep it up for next season if they’re to win promotion to the Premier League’s division 1. However, with 10 goals in 12 games for England’s Under-17 side, there should be no questions over his ability to hit the back of the net.
Ivan Calero – Derby County
The Academy that brought you Will Hughes, Tom Huddlestone and Jeff Hendrick will be hoping that it will be an import to their Under-21 side that makes big waves this season as Ivan Calero, formally of Atletico Madrid, embarks on his first season in English football.
Rams manager Steve McClaren told the club’s website upon his signing: "After a successful trial period, we are delighted to welcome Ivan to the club. He is a young player with an excellent pedigree and we are really pleased that he sees his future at Derby County.’’
Calero, who has been Derby’s Under-21 top goalscorer in pre-season, has previously been involved with the Atletico Madrid first team and has racked up a good amount of appearances at various youth international levels for Spain, including captaining their under-19 side.
The 19-year-old, brought in to play for the Under-21 side, has been touted by several sections of the Derby County fan base to break into the first-team at some point this season if he keeps the performances exhibited in the Rams Under-21 side up. Nevertheless, until then, he will unquestionably be the Premier League Under-21 new boy’s key player as they look to finish in a respectable position.